Why CAT editorial will never be mortgaged by advertising


There is one subject I really want to talk about – and that is the shady issue of ‘buying’ editorial in trade magazines.

One very important point I would like to make at the outset is this:

None of the editorial in CAT is ever linked to advertising content.

None is compromised by being linked to advertising spend.

None is ever seen by advertisers before going to print.


Our editorial content is, therefore, completely  independent, a fact that’s an integral part of our brand’s credentials.

In fact, if I even so much as suggest a subject for our editor to write about, or a company to include in editorial, she puts on what I call her ‘cross face’!

“I decide editorial content,” she rightly says. “Not the publisher. Not the sales team.”

Our editorial is not for sale

As such, unlike some trade mags out there, you cannot ‘buy’ editorial space in CAT by placing an advert.

If we say something about someone, write a critique of a company or praise a product, it’s because it’s genuine and absolutely not as the result of an advert that’s appeared elsewhere in the magazine.

Of course, other publications are free to run their businesses in whatever way they like.

But in my view, it should be made crystal clear to readers in titles where selling editorial occurs that this is the case.

Readers have a right to know that the supposed ‘editorial’ content they are looking at might only be there because of a commercial deal undertaken with the company that’s being written about.

And therefore it should, perhaps, be labelled as ‘advertorial’.

Why people read CAT

I’d like to think that people read CAT because they want to, because they enjoy it and get something from it. We’re regularly told we are market leaders in terms of editorial quality, which pleases us greatly because that’s what we strive for.

We want our subscribers to pick up CAT and actually read it when it comes through their letterbox.

And this in turn gives our advertisers better value for their hard-earned marketing spend. We want them to know that people will be reading CAT. That our subscribers want to read CAT.

We don’t just dump batches of 300 copies with a factor to deliver to some garages sometimes.

Over 99% of our readership is requested. Every one of our readers is on a database. We know who each of them is, even if we can’t share those details with you thanks to data protection laws!

How is editorial chosen?

When editor Emma chooses her cover stories, her news stories and her features, she does so on the basis that what she and her contributors are writing about is of real (and independent) relevance to the trade.

We never mortgage our editorial. Just because you advertise, doesn’t guarantee you an editorial slot. And if you don’t have any marketing spend, we’re not going to say “you won’t get any coverage”.

If you have something good to say, you will get editorial coverage. Regardless.

The result is simple. None of our editorial is commercially biased. Readers know it’s for real. And long may it stay that way!

[Amen – Ed]

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  1. Ian, you do make me smile. All those fabulous discussions we used to have together.

    I’m writing this note and the memories are just flooding in – but I still love ya!

    By the way, I’ve always believed a publisher from the commercial side will always bring skills to the party as well as another from the editorial side.

    Ultimately, it’s down to the quality of the publisher rather than the background he or she comes from.


  2. A trade magazine publisher talking common sense. Well done Jim. Publishers should always be recruited from the editorial ranks. Advertising people should be not seen (they should be out selling), not heard (they have strange ideas of what makes good editorial) and certainly not allowed to be publishers.